The Devil's Lane: Sex and Race in the Early South / Edition 1

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When Europeans settled in the early South, they quarreled over many things--but few imbroglios were so fierce as battles over land. Landowners wrangled bitterly over boundaries with neighbors and contested areas became known as "the devil's lane." Violence and bloodshed were but some of the consequences to befall those who ventured into these disputed territories.
The Devil's Lane highlights important new work on sexuality, race, and gender in the South from the seventeenth- to the nineteenth-centuries. Contributors explore legal history by examining race, crime and punishment, sex across the color line, and slander. Emerging stars and established scholars such as Peter Wood and Carol Berkin weave together the fascinating story of competing agendas and clashing cultures on the southern frontier. One chapter focuses on a community's resistance to a hermaphrodite, where the town court conducted a series of "examinations" to determine the individual's gender. Other pieces address topics ranging from resistance to sexual exploitation on the part of slave women to spousal murders, from interpreting women's expressions of religious ecstasy to a pastor's sermons about depraved sinners and graphic depictions of carnage, all in the name of "exposing" evil, and from a case of infanticide to the practice of state-mandated castration.
Several of the authors pay close attention to the social and personal dynamics of interracial women's networks and relationships across place and time. The Devil's Lane illuminates early forms of sexual oppression, inviting comparative questions about authority and violence, social attitudes and sexual tensions, the impact of slavery as well as the twisted course of race relations among blacks, whites, and Indians. Several scholars look particularly at the Gulf South, myopically neglected in traditional literature, and an outstanding feature of this collection.
These eighteen original essays reveal why the intersection of sex and race marks an essential point of departure for understanding southern social relations, and a turning point for the field of colonial history. The rich, varied and distinctive experiences showcased in The Devil's Lane provides an extraordinary opportunity for readers interested in women's history, African American history, southern history, and especially colonial history to explore a wide range of exciting issues.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195112436
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 6/28/1997
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,052,066
  • Product dimensions: 6.19 (w) x 9.19 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Catherine Clinton is the author of several books on southern history, women's history, and Civil War studies including The Plantation Mistress, Half Sisters of History, Tara Revisited, and Divided Houses (OUP 1992). Michele Gillespie is Associate Professor of American history at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta. Her book on labor in Georgia from the American Revolution to the Civil War is forthcoming from the University of Georgia Press.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Reflections on Sex, Race, and Region
1 "The Facts Speak Loudly Enough": Exploring Early Southern Black History 3
2 Clio's Daughters: Southern Colonial Women and Their Historians 15
3 Wallowing in a Swamp of Sin: Parson Weems, Sex, and Murder in Early South Carolina 24
4 "Changed...Into the Fashion of Man": The Politics of Sexual Difference in a Seventeenth-Century Anglo-American Settlement 39
5 Indian Foremothers: Race, Sex, Slavery, and Freedom in Early Virginia 57
6 Rape, Race, and Castration in Slave Law in the Colonial and Early South 74
7 Kith and Kin: Women's Networks in Colonial Virginia 90
8 "For their Satisfaction or Redress": African Americans and Church Discipline in the Early South 109
9 Crimes of Love, Misdemeanors of Passion: The Regulation of Race and Sex in the Colonial South 124
10 "False, Feigned, and Scandalous Words": Sexual Slander and Racial Ideology Among Whites in Colonial North Carolina 139
11 Interracial Sects: Religion, Race, and Gender Among Early North Carolina Moravians 154
12 Passion, Desire, and Ecstasy: The Experiential Religion of Southern Methodist Women, 1770-1810 168
13 The Sexual Politics of Race and Gender: Mary Musgrove and the Georgia Trustees 187
14 "In Consideration of Her Enormous Crime": Rape and Infanticide in Spanish St. Augustine 205
15 Coping in a Complex World: Free Black Women in Colonial New Orleans 218
16 "A Chaos of Iniquity and Discord": Slave and Free Women of Color in the Spanish Ports of New Orleans, Mobile, and Pensacola 232
17 African Women in French and Spanish Louisiana: Origins, Roles, Family, Work, Treatment 247
Epilogue 263
Suggested Reading 267
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